11W Recruiting Notebook: Final Guess Edition

By Alex on January 31, 2011 at 1:00p

Since we last met, the Buckeyes extended their recruiting class of 2011 to 22 members, thanks to long snapper Bryce Haynes jumping on board the Jim Tressel train. With National Signing Day coming up on Wednesday there is potentially room for two to three more prospects to join the fold and a handful of players still left on the board. If this class ended without another player committing, it would already be a great haul for the Buckeyes. Any more additions are just icing on the cake, and would certainly continue to help the Buckeyes in the coming four to five seasons on the football field.

The undecided players left on the radar that currently hold scholarship offers from Ohio State include former Buckeye DE Keith Wells, Cleveland Glenville stars OL Aundrey Walker and QB Cardale Jones, Richmond (VA) Hermitage LB Curtis Grant, Rock Hill (SC) South Pointe DE Jadeveon Clowney, Baltimore (MD) Gilman ATH Darius Jennings, and Brooksville (FL) Nature Coast Tech WR Ja'Juan Story. Other players that don't have an offer yet, but remain in the mix are two other Glenville Tarblooders in WR Shane Wynn and DE/LB Andre Sturdivant, Walsh Jesuit P Drew Kaser, Coffeyville (KS) Community College WR Duron Carter, and Interlachen (FL) RB Kion Williams. 

While nobody except the players themselves know which way we are leaning, we have spoken to some people "in the know" with some of the situations involved with each prospect, and, well, we still have no clue where these super athletes will end up. Some will choose Ohio State and some will bring their talent elsewhere, but with just two days until decision time, we can use our knowledge to make some educated guesses at who may be the next to call Columbus home. Here's our breakdown and final predictions of who will end up where come the college football season of 2011. 

Aundrey Walker, OL, 6-6/350: Walker has Ohio State, Michigan State, USC, Florida State, and Wisconsin as his finalists and has "loved" every single one of his visits thus far. This monster of a teenager has had Sparty and the Bucks on top the whole way, but the "chatter" has been that he will pick the Trojans after Kiffykins and the boys Hollywooded him up on his trip out west. Sometimes where there's smoke there's fire, and he did say his mom would move to wherever he chooses to go, but I'm not buying this. I've said Buckeye the whole way and I think he sports the "Block O" hat on Wednesday.

Cardale Jones, QB, 6-5/230: Jones  (pictured right) visited Ohio State this weekend and came away with the offer he has coveted throughout this entire process. He told Bucknuts' Bill Kurelic that OSU and Toledo are "neck and neck" and he wouldn't decide until Signing Day on Wednesday, but make no mistakes, this kid wants to be a Buckeye. The question for Jones will be if he is academically eligible. If he is, expect him to end up in Scarlet and Gray. If he isn't, he can choose to go to prep school for a year before finding his way to Columbus, or he can sign on with Toledo, as the MAC can take on non-qualifiers. I think on Wednesday he will sign with Ohio State, but there is a good chance his journey to Columbus will be delayed for a year due to academics.

Curtis Grant, LB, 6-3/215: Grant has the Buckeyes, Florida, Virginia, and UNC as his final four, but if things ended today the Buckeyes would come out on top. I really think he had a special connection when he was on campus for his visit and got that special feeling of knowing where he wanted to go. He continues to play things close to the vest and I can definitely see him choosing Florida, but if nothing funky happens I think he begins his journey to becoming the next great Buckeye linebacker on Wednesday.

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, 6-5/235: At one point it looked like Clowney would give coming north a shot, but it appears his heart is in the south. An OSU official visit never happens and I think this is still a Florida State-South Carolina-Alabama race. I think the in-state Gamecocks come out on top and get a player who is by far the best high school prospect I have ever seen.

Darius Jennings, WR/CB/QB, 5-11/175: Jennings is down to Ohio State, Virginia, and Wake Forest and all three schools want him for different positions. OSU thinks Jennings can excel at corner back, UVA likes him at wide receiver, and Wake thinks he can be their next quarterback. It appears Jennings prefers to stay on the offensive side of the ball, giving UVA and WFU the slight edge there, but I think in his head he knows that coming to Columbus is his best chance at playing in the NFL. I think he gives the Bucks a very hard look, but right now I think the comfort of staying close to home and playing wide receiver leads him to join the Virginia Cavaliers.

Ja'Juan Story, WR, 6-4/195: After his official visit to Ohio State it really looked like Story (pictured right with Tress) could end up in Columbus. A week later things aren't looking so bright, as Story reportedly didn't like the fact that the Buckeyes hired a running backs coach to handle the receivers and went up to Gainesville to hang out with Jeff Driskell on the same day that Jim Tressel was in his school. Wait for the fax on Signing Day, but if I had to call things today, I would say Story stays with his original commitment to Florida. 

Shane Wynn, WR, 5-8/155: Hawaii, Penn State, Indiana, Toledo, and are all in the mix, but the one thing I know is that Ohio State is not. I think it's a smart move by the Bucks to take a pass on the undersized Wynn and for now I'll call him to Toledo where he'll be a star in the MAC for Tim Beckman.

Andre "Tank" Sturdivant, DL/LB, 6-3/245: Tank is academically eligible and in any other year OSU would have offered, but I think this one will come down to Michigan State, Penn State, and Toledo. OSU could offer if there is room on Wednesday, but I don't think that will be the case and I'll pick Sturdivant to have a very successful career at Penn State.

Drew Kaser, P, 6-3/185: Kaser had an offer to be a preferred walk-on at Ohio State, but recently accepted a scholarship from Texas A&M. If there is room and Kaser is offered, he would flip to Ohio State in half a second, but come Wednesday I think he signs on the dotted line with the Aggies.

Kion Williams, RB, 5-11/195: Williamswas supposed to visit OSU officially this past weekend and I'm really curious to see what the staff was thinking in trying to bring him in. With tons of running backs in the fold, do Jim Tressel and the staff think Williams can be a receiver or defensive back? Was this a move spear-headed by Stan Drayton who knows Florida very well? I really don't know what to think and until I hear more I say Williams will stay firm to his current commitment and sign with UCF.

Keith Wells, DE, 6-5/230: Wells couldn't cut it academically the first time around at OSU, but left the team and got his act in order at Columbus State during the last year. It appears that as long as he is qualified academically that he will be back with the team come spring quarter and could provide some quality play on the defensive line next season. I think things work out the way Keith has been planning and he ends up back in the Buckeye family.

Together again?Duron Carter, WR, 6-4/210: Ah, our good friend Duron. When he left OSU it was a no-brainer that he would be back, but it seemed apparent that things drifted apart as his JuCo season was underway. It looked like the door was closed for a return to the Buckeyes next year and that Jim Tressel was ready to move on. Carter popped in on Oregon, LSU, Oklahoma, and Miami to check things out before selecting another school, but then the tables turned again. Carter withdrew from Coffeyville and enrolled at Palm Beach Community College after the football season, where he is set up to receive his Associate's Degree this summer. With that degree in hand, Carter would be able to enroll at any school with enough credits to play in the fall per NCAA rules and can sign a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday to the school he wants to join. Again, this is where things get tricky.

While Carter can sign a binding agreement this week, he can also wait as long as he wants and make a decision when determining his academic standing at the schools on his short list. If he goes to any other school besides OSU, he only needs a 2.0 to be eligible and play football. Easy choice right? Wrong, as Ohio State is really in Duron's heart, but he would have to get a much higher GPA than 2.0 if he wants to come back, as his grades that he recorded his freshman year would be factored into the average. 

Where does this bring us you all ask? Making a long story short, it appears Miami is willing to roll the dice that Duron finishes what he needs to do at Palm Beach and has extended a scholarship offer before receiving his Associate's Degree. Ohio State wants to wait to see how things shake out before bringing Duron back into the fold. It's a really tough decision to choose between taking the sure thing scholarship offer now or waiting to go back to your dream school and a place you know and love so much. I think in the end the latter wins out and I'm going to go out on a limb here and say at some point you will see Duron back in Scarlet and Gray.

Wrapping-Up: To summarize, I think the Buckeyes bring in Curtis Grant, Cardale Jones and Aundrey Walker on Wednesday, closing off another excellent recruiting class for Ohio State. I think Keith Wells rejoins the team in the spring and I also think Duron Carter makes his way back into the fold after receiving his AD from Palm Beach Community College this summer. Will I be right? I sure hope so, but in the world of recruiting anything can happen. As I mentioned before, this class is already excellent as is, so it will be interesting to see what kind of cherry on top Signing Day will bring Buckeye Nation.


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Matt's picture

That's a pretty optimistic take on the final haul, Alex.  Is there anything in particular that is jumping out at you to make you believe that Walker will pledge to the good guys -- separate and apart from the past pattern of last-second Glenville angst-giving committments to OSU where it looks like they might select another school?

Alex's picture

I don't think it's that optimistic....if i said Story, Jennings, Walker, Grant, and Jones were all Buckeyes that would be pretty optimistic :) ......I actually think we CAN lose Ejuan Price to Pitt, as it seems he really doesn't want to leave home, so keep an eye on that....I think you have to watch what they do and no what they say and all along it has been Walker to OSU...was he enamored by the weather, girls, and glamour of U$C? You bet he was, but I also think he knows OSU is where he belongs. Can I be wrong? Of course but my sources are telling me Walker to OSU still and the Jones offer can only help. I think we will know Tuesday night about those two. Grant is ours to lose so I'm pretty confident with him right now too. 

gbm's picture

I have been M.I.A. for a while so I'm pretty ignorant right now. But why no offer to Strudivant? When I saw him play on ESPN at the begining of the H.S. season, the kid was a beast. Kinda a second coming of the gun show. I saw S&G all the way. Any more insights?

Alex's picture

Just no room at this point...as I said any other year he'd be in....if Urban was still at UF he'd be in (no Shazier, no Grant)....just too much talent this year and in 2012...still a chance he sneaks in but I doubt it

RBuck's picture

For the life of me I can't figure out why Tress offered Jones (athelete possibly) unless it was a package deal. We're set at QB with at least 3 backups not counting Joe B. Hopefully the package includes Walker and not Wynn. My perfect scenario is that OSU comes away with Walker, Grant and Story.

Long live the southend.

Colin's picture

Not to play the race card but just for simplicity, the white QBs we got aren't that talented, Bauserman included. Taylor Graham has potential though. But two QB recruits now will give Braxton greater competition and it will give us a safety net if he gets hurt, which is important because he seems prone to injury. Either way, rumors are circulating that Jones will have to go to a prep school next year so he will could miss next season anyway, saving us a scholarship spot on the 2011 roster.

I also think Story stays in Florida.

RBuck's picture

I see your point but the only way I'd take Jones is if he's gray-shirted this year. I also think you're right about Story, but it would be nice to have a fast 6'4" WR.

Long live the southend.

The_Lurker's picture

Alex, if your instincts are correct, I'd be extremely happy. Clowney is an absolutely unstoppable beast, but there's an itch in my brain telling me that some dirty pool is being played in the struggle to land him that could come back to bite one or more of the institutions involved. I think Story stays at UF also.

buckeyedude's picture

Why are we still chasing LBs and DEs? I think we're loaded there without Wells coming back? I thought WR and DB were the two areas of need for the Buckeyes? I just don't get it, but I'm just a fan.

As far as Cardale Jones, you can never have too many QBs. The trick is to keep them all happy.

I hope I'm wrong, but I'll bet Duron takes the easy road and stays close to home at the U. Hope we can get Walker. Always like to see the supersized big uglies in the scarlet and gray.



BucksfanXC's picture

I wouldn't be surprised to see Duron moved down to FL, where his parents are gonna have a closer eye on him, and see him get his grades together and come back to OSU.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

btalbert25's picture

There are 2 positions that I never typically worry about at Ohio State, LB and WR.  I know there are a lot of question marks with Dane gone and Posey being out for at most 5 games, but it seems like we just always end up having pretty decent WR's.  In my opinion(and feel free to disagree with me) the weakest WR's we've had in the Tressel era were Robisikie and Hartline and they are both in the NFL. 

All this is leading to my point.  I would love to get Story on this team, but they'll be fine without him.  I would love to land Grant as well, and think the Buckeyes get him, but LB is always a position of strength and we've seen 1 highly rated 4 star not hit the field as an LB really and a highly touted 5 star, in the converstaion as a starter but certainly not a lock next year. 

I think you can never get too many great O and D lineman, and QBs.  I also like being very deep at RB.  Those are the guys I don't mind stockpiling in recruiting classes and those are the guys that make the SEC so great.  Does that mean I don't see the value of getting Andy Katzenmoyer?  No.  Would AJ Green be a difference maker for everyone absolutely, so it's great to land those guys.  I just feel it's much more important to really nail QB's and linemen.

SoCalBuckNut's picture

Speaking of WR's, and the comment of Robiskie and Hartling being the weakest and still being drafted. Who was the last receiver to start at tOSU and not get drafted or signed as a free agent? Being that we're predominantly a running team, having all your starting receivers play in the NFL is a great feat.

BTwrestle04's picture

Granted Ray Small got signed as a free agent, I don't think he was signed to any team after being cut? I don't even think he was on a practice squad? I may be mistaken though.

NW Buckeye's picture

The Duron take is interesting. I went back and forth with a Miami employee on the Dispatch site. He is also an OSU grad with a second degree from UM. According to him there is no offer for Duron from UM because he will not qualify academically. I said BS but he insisted that UM's standards are among the highest in the country and that they never bring in a player with Duron' standing. I asked about Seantrel and he said that he was an elite HS student. That was a surprise to me. Any way, his stance was that Miami would never offer Duron. Yet, all the speculation in the media is that they would be a good fit. And, according to this article all he needs is his JC degree and he could step right in at UM and play. Anyone know this for sure? The blogger on the Dispatch site insisted that he would not play there and claimed to have inside info. Any thoughts?

btalbert25's picture

I always thought Miami was supposed to be a pretty good school.  As for not offering guys that going to be academic liabilities, I would say didn't they offer Latwaan last year?  I think he is right that Miami is a pretty good school and not easy for the typical student to get into, but the typical student and the great football player don't exactly have the same people fighting for them to get admitted.

NW Buckeye's picture

My thoughts exactly.  What I recall about Latwaan was that he was a borderline player academically  for any school, including the SEC, and that is saying something.  Yet, they found a way to get him in even when they had no scholly to offer.  Ended up giving him a track ride, and that means that he was not even supposed to practice with another sport until he had spent at least one season with his offered sport.  I would guess that fall indoor track would qualify, but he needed to complete that season before he saw the football field.  Yet, all that I have read indicated that he practiced with the football team - do not know if he played in any games, do you? 

That is why the comments from the "Miami employee" who was an OSU grad just did not make any sense to me.  Yes, Miami has high academic standards - they are a small private school.  But they have demonstrated again and again that they will bring in a borderline academic player if he is a lock to contribute athletically.  Just the way it is when you compete with the SEC for athletes.  I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has first hand experience with this.  Just curious. 

tampa buckeye's picture

It would be awesome if we over sign this year.

Matt's picture

Dead weight recruit/3rd year 4th string DB schollie player who will never see the field, you are fucking out!

ERIC OSU's picture

This is exactly my philosophy on NCAA Football 11.. *I oversign on a consistant basis for our Buckeyes in Dynasty mode and i am forced to dump the 62 Overall DT's that are eighth on the depth chart... It is what it is virtual recruits!! I'm taking the 75 Overall Rating Freshman over the 75 OVR Junior CB. You dumped son!

*unfortunately EA Sports only allows you to keep 70 players on the roster, makes the numbers game challenging!

Hootie159's picture

Sounds like Walker is headed to U$C... lovely

Colin's picture

What is this based on?

Hootie159's picture



I don't pay, so I don't know the exact details but the Gary Housteau report is headlined "OSU fans aren't going to like this..."

Colin's picture

Hmm...I dont know I'd say about 95% of the stuff I've seen still had him as an OSU lean. And he isn't announcing until tomorrow I don't know how this guy would have that type of scoop.

Hootie159's picture

Yea I don't know what to think, just that I hate U$C and Kiffin. Hopefully Jones and family/friends are enough to keep him in state.

Housteau is the "Glenville insider" and according to him Walker to U$C

Nick's picture

New Buckeye Song from Jared Sullinger's twitter feed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgog2kfDu8w

Irricoir's picture

Not looking good for Walker. I don't know how I feel about USC being his dream school. Wish he would sign with us but I don't want him having regrets and I'd feel alot better about him if we were his number 1 choice for something other than location. As a fan, I enjoy rooting for the players that love our school and want to be here for all the right reasons. I wish the best for him for whatever he decides.


I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

RBuck's picture

So his family is going to move with him if he goes to USC. Question is if they'll get a nice as house as Reggie's folks did.

Long live the southend.